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    WhatsApp: end-to-end encryption for everyone, privacy thanks

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    Lluís Enric Mayans

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    You know the legal battle between Apple and the US government? Well, it was a typical example of security versus privacy, a choice for which still today there is no valid compromise.

    It has been known for some time that WhatsApp had intended to take sides in favor of the first and during the late afternoon yesterday the confirmation arrived: all users of the messaging and calling service, on all platforms for which WhatsApp is present (Android, iOS , Windows Phone, Nokia, BlackBerry and the Web) now enjoy end-to-end encryption for text messages, photos, videos, documents, voice notes, calls and so on.

    A move that involved over 1 billion users around the world and for which WhatsApp had been preparing for a year, in close collaboration with Open Whisper Systems.

    In practice this means that only the sender and recipient messages they will be able to read them, for which WhatsApp will not be physically able to grant any requests for interception even under governmental order - since, precisely due to the structure of this type of encryption, it is no longer physically possible. Not even the WhatsApp technical staff will be able to access messages in transit.

    The messages should be in your hands. That's why WhatsApp doesn't store them on servers once they're delivered, and end-to-end encryption means WhatsApp and third parties won't be able to read them anymore.

    Once a user has switched to the full encryption, it will no longer be possible send WhatsApp messages in clear text not even switching to an older version of the app. WhatsApp, for its part, hopes that this type of practice will become a habit:

    While WhatsApp is now among the few communication platforms that offer full end-to-end encryption enabled by default on whatever you do, we expect this to soon represent the future of personal communication.

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